Questions with this tag should be about traditional ingredients, preparations or dishes from Italy - such as focaccia, risotto or tiramisu. Questions about ingredients common to Italian style cooking, but which aren't about a specific Italian dish, should not use this tag.

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13
votes
11answers
132k views

What's the difference between a Stromboli and a Calzone?

On the east coast Italian restaurants (or pizza shops) sometimes offer both Strombolis and Calzones. Sometimes it seems that Calzones are a 'type' of Stromboli, because the menu has a single Calzone ...
3
votes
4answers
5k views

What is the spicy kick in “Kraft Tangy Spaghetti” box meal?

So, since I've lived at home, there has been a boxed spaghetti mix that has always been especially good to me. The thing I like about it is a subtle heat of some kind of pepper or spice. I've tried ...
9
votes
1answer
720 views

What is the origin of fish sauce in asia?

wondering about the history/origins of fish sauce, specifically in Asia. I haven't found anything after Googling a bit.. My friend claims that fish sauce was invented in Italy (the Romans?). Can ...
1
vote
1answer
90 views

Does it matter if I add cornstarch to my sauce instead of pasta water?

Since it is starch in hot water in both cases, I wonder why starchy pasta water is so prized over adding (trigger warning for Italians) warm water and cornstarch when tossing pasta.
0
votes
0answers
38 views

Ratio of cream/butter to cheese in Alfredo with high fat cheeses?

I would like to substitute ricotta in Alfredo with mascarpone. However I found doing that greatly affects the texture of the Alfredo making it too greasy and less creamy and smooth like I want it to ...
9
votes
7answers
22k views

Why is there a watery run-off after cooking my bolognese?

It's a fairly standard recipe with passata and wine, simmering on a low heat for a couple of hours. After stirring and putting the bolognese onto the pasta, after a couple of minutes the sauce ...
14
votes
3answers
4k views

When making risotto, why fry the rice?

When making risotto one of the first steps is to saute the rice in some oil for a few minutes (or until the rice is translucent). What is happening when the rice is fried? What effect does this have,...
12
votes
4answers
6k views

Arborio and Risotto

I ran out of regular rice the other day, and subbed in some arborio (the traditional risotto rice). I figured it would serve well enough, since it's a tough variety, and I planned on a multi-stage ...
1
vote
1answer
104 views

Where does scarface pasta get its name from?

I couldn't find anything within the first few pages of a Google search other than the fact that fettuccine al burro (it's original name) was named after it's creator Alfredo Di Lelio.
0
votes
3answers
117 views

How do I impart the flavor of mint to a tomato sauce? [duplicate]

I have dumped 2 tbsp of dried mint and 2 handfuls of crushed mint leaves into a reduced 28 oz tomato sauce but it only made a dent of mint taste in the sauce. I don't get it - a little dry or fresh ...
0
votes
2answers
69 views

Can you cook off the acidity in wine?

My marinara was strangely too acidic than before even though I used canned tomatoes which are normally ripe, but then I remembered I added white wine to the flavor base (which i reduced). First I do ...
4
votes
5answers
7k views

What can I substitute for Guanciale?

Guanciale is something I've never seen in the UK what can I use as a substitute? ..Or alternatively is there somewhere I can source this in the UK? Note: I'm thinking of experimenting with a ...
1
vote
2answers
98 views

Why did my ricotta cheese did not completely melt in the Alfredo?

Today I sauteed a quarter cup mushrooms in 3 tbsp butter and added 250ml cream. Everything was set for me to add the ricotta and finish the Alfredo, but it only partly melted. Beyond a certain point, ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Onion and Garlic, a no-no?

I had an Italian flatmate once who was on the brink of lynching me when he saw I used garlic and onion in one dish. He said that - at least in Italian cuisine - thats an absolute no-no. You can use ...
3
votes
2answers
497 views

What is the most common mozzarella used in Italian pizza

That's a curiosity I have after visiting Italy. I ate pizza all the time but I couldn't differentiate the variety of mozzarella on them. What is the most common mozzarella used on their pizza? ...
1
vote
1answer
71 views

How do I know when my wine is properly reduced?

I guess it can be subjective according to tastes, but some reduction is required. If I could know what I am trying to do away with in the reduction process (alcohol, raw bite or volume) then I could ...
3
votes
1answer
228 views

When should or shouldn't you toss pasta with sauce?

Tossing pasta with the sauce saves the need to unstick it with starch water. But I have a theory that if the pasta sits in the moisture of the sauce for too long (fridge) it gets soggy and loses it's ...
1
vote
2answers
158 views

How do you store cooked pasta without losing the bite?

When I cook pasta I usually drain all the water and keep about a cup of pasta water so I could loosen up a sticky pasta or bulk up a sauce. But spaghettini or capellini is too thin so it breaks up ...
4
votes
3answers
101k views

What is the best substitute for Provolone?

Having recently bought the Frankies Spuntino Cookbook I want to have a go at making braciola. The recipe calls for pork steaks to be stuffed with pecorino romano and provolone. However, in the UK ...
2
votes
4answers
16k views

What are some seasonings that can spice up a bland frozen chicken alfredo? [closed]

Tonight, the main course is: Red Baron's Chicken Alfredo. The problem is that it's a little bland so I'm trying to figure out what the best seasonings will give it more spice, or at least a more ...
13
votes
3answers
1k views

What is a non-pork substitute for Italian sausage?

We do not have genuine pork Italian sausages here in Israel. When a recipe like Ragu or Bolognese calls for Italian sausage, what meat could be used as a substitute for ground pork, and what ...
2
votes
2answers
329 views

How can I prevent the cheese on my homemade pizza from hardening too soon?

I am on my road to perfecting thin crust pizza, but a major problem is that about 5 to 10 minutes after getting it out of the oven the cheese begins to congeal and harden, making my homemade pizza ...
10
votes
2answers
20k views

What varities of chili peppers are most commonly used in Italy

I've been reading some Italian (written in Italian, by Italians) cook books and web sites and I find that many recipes call for peperoncini. I thought I knew what these are, but according to this ...
4
votes
6answers
19k views

What should I do with a just-baked lasanga?

I'm a complete cooking newbie. I just made a lasanga from a recipe - or something that looks like a lasanga. However, it will probably only be eaten 3-4 hours from now. What should I do with it in the ...
2
votes
6answers
4k views

How to make softer biscotti?

I made this biscotti recipe yesterday - Fruity Christmas Biscotti. It contains plain flour, baking powder, mixed spice, golden caster sugar and eggs. The recipe also calls for raisins, dried cherries ...
1
vote
2answers
8k views

Why do stuffed shells recipes include eggs?

I'm making stuffed shells, but I don't have any eggs. All the recipes I can find call for one or two eggs. What is the reason and can I get away without eggs?
0
votes
1answer
30 views

Stewing Tomatoes for a Purée(sauce)

Aside from water, are there any other liquids I can use to stew tomatoes to make a purée? I was thinking maybe chicken stock or vegetable but don't know how that would taste or if it would even be ...
10
votes
3answers
42k views

What is the difference between tomato puree, paste and sauce?

I was looking for a recipe for an Italian tomato sauce when I came across an old cookbook from an American Creole Chef I like, but I'm really confused about the terminology he uses for some of the ...
2
votes
4answers
298 views

How to make white risotto

I want to make white risotto, but I can't as the broth is usually brownish and makes the rice to have the same color. I don't know how to make/get white broth, any ideas how to make white risotto?
10
votes
2answers
424 views

Why do we dimple a focaccia?

When I was making a focaccia earlier today, I realised that I've never been told why we dimple them before baking. A quick Googling didn't reveal anything, so I'm asking here: why do we make dimples ...
1
vote
5answers
4k views

Pasticcio vs Lasagna

What's the main difference between this two dishes, Pasticcio and Lasagna? I think pasticcio has ham and I think both have béchamel sauce. They both need to be baked (as far as I know) but honestly, ...
12
votes
7answers
8k views

Is there a way to safely can pesto sauce?

I grow basil and I have enough that I would like to can some pesto sauce. I have tried to find a way to can it but I keep hitting a wall. I would like to give a few cans of pesto to people for ...
4
votes
4answers
9k views

How to add more toppings to frozen pizza?

I generally buy frozen Pizza Margherita in store for making a quick lunch if I am running out of time. However, I don't really like the taste of the baked Pizza because it is just Tomato and Cheese. I ...
12
votes
7answers
70k views

What causes a tomato sauce to have a bitterness and getting rid of it?

My tomato sauce is coming out great, lots of flavor, especially after I was able to reduce it following the tips here However, it is still slightly bitter. What causes a tomato sauce to have a (in ...
3
votes
3answers
1k views

Using Canned San Marzano Tomatoes Vs. Regular Canned Tomatoes

I have never used San Marzano tomatoes yet. I recently bought a cookbook and most of the recipes call for San Marzano Tomatoes. They are more expensive. Is it really worth paying the extra money for ...
55
votes
26answers
272k views

In a tomato sauce recipe, how can I cut the acidity?

It seems that every time I make a tomato sauce for pasta, the sauce is a little bit too acid for my taste. I've tried using sugar or sodium bicarbonate, but I'm not satisfied with the results.
1
vote
3answers
924 views

What should I do with candied citron?

My inlaws just gave me a gift of candied whole citron (not just the peel) that they picked up from southern Italy. It was very thoughtful and just in time for Sukkot! However, I'm just not sure ...
1
vote
2answers
680 views

Nuts in Italian cooking

What sorts of nuts are common in (real) Italian cooking? Looking online it seems that walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts figure heavily but do Italians use cashew nuts, peanuts, pistachio or other nuts?...
2
votes
1answer
458 views

Are spuntini a form of appetizers?

I am going to an Italian restaurant and trying to educate myself a bit about the food before going. I own the oxford companion to Italian food, but it says nothing about the term "spuntini" which is a ...
14
votes
5answers
28k views

How to prevent overcooking of eggs in Carbonara sauce?

Carbonara can be absolutely delicicious if everthing goes perfectly; but it can also be tasteless, chewy and lumpy, if the egg is overcooked. Does anyone have what they regard as a fool proof method ...
2
votes
6answers
9k views

Impastata Ricotta for Cannoli

I have been trying to make homemade cannoli filling, but I can not find Impastata Ricotta anywhere. I have tried using regular Ricotta, leaving it to drain in a cheesecloth overnight and then food ...
10
votes
3answers
21k views

Is 'Pizza yeast' any different than normal baking yeast?

A friend (Italian) mentioned that she uses 'Pizza Yeast' for making pizza, and one can't use normal yeast or it'll "grow too much".. I looked around the internet for "Pizza yeast" and all I found was ...
3
votes
2answers
591 views

Thickening Alfredo sauce

My girlfriend and I are huge fettuccine alfredo fans, so we have been trying to recreate one of our favorite Italian dishes at home. The trouble we keep having is thickening the Alfredo sauce ...
2
votes
1answer
187 views

Difference between Fleischkäse, Mortadella, and Parizer

I am a great fan of some cold meats typical to Germany, Italy, and Romania. Surprisingly, I was unable to find a definition of how they are made which is sufficiently accurate to determine any ...
2
votes
2answers
192 views

Should I be scared of chicken livers? Can I make them less scary? (Ragu Bolognese)

I am planning to make this Ragu Bolognese. The recipe looks so good, and I am due for a fun freezer filling project. The thing is though, that I hate, hate, hate liver. On the other hand, I really ...
2
votes
1answer
208 views

Definition of a “half glass?”

I'm making oven baked caponata and the recipe calls for a half glass of vinegar. No clue how many ounces to a "glass."
3
votes
4answers
13k views

Does tiramisu firm up in the fridge?

I am making my first tiramisu, using this recipe from Gourmet (with high ratings on Epicurious). My mascarpone mixture looks terribly soft to me. As per recipe, I foamed 4 yolks with 80 ml sherry (I ...
7
votes
2answers
449 views

How can I make a super-thin, yet strong, calzone crust?

I am a relatively experienced amateur when it comes to making pizza, especially pizza doughs. I recently went to Italy and enjoyed some calzones with super-thin crusts. My standard recipe for a ...
5
votes
3answers
7k views

Should good prosciutto be refrigerated?

I recently bought a whole bunch of really good, freshly-cut prosciutto in Italy, and I plan to eat it in about a week or two. However, I'm reluctant to stick it in the fridge until that time. In my ...
2
votes
2answers
107 views

gluten free gnocchi tasting too much like potato

I made my first batch of gnocchi this weekend and after quite a bit of work, I got gnocchi that didn't taste great. The consistency was ok; they did not disintegrate when I boiled them for a couple ...